Click below to order " Dining at Walt Disney World ® - The Definitive Guide "
Disney World is amazing no matter who you visit with. Still, there is something extra magical about heading to these super cool parks as a father-and-son duo. After all, what could be better than bonding over the incredible experience offered by Walt Disney World Resort? If you're thinking of taking your little man to Disney in the near future, you may be racking your brain trying to come up with a way to make the day extra special. Not to worry! We've collected a whole list of amazing ideas for you.
1. Take a Tour
Did you know that Disney World offers super cool behind-the-scenes tours? Well they do, and they are a ton of fun! For those animal lovers out there, the tours at Animal Kingdom are ideal. Plant fans, on the other hand, will adore the super affordable Behind the Seeds tour at Epcot. Other tours can be found at both other parks, and all are well worthwhile if you'll be taking a slightly older child.
2. Get Your Sports On
Many people don't realize that there are some great opportunities for sports fans to get in the game at Disney World. Consider staying in All-Star Sports resort for this particular trip, making sure to use the huge field in the middle of the resort to play catch, flag football, or even soccer. Visit ESPN Wide World of Sports and catch an event or simply have a look around the amazing facilities. For dinner, head to ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill located inside the complex for a well themed and delicious meal any sports fan would love.
3. All About Pirates
Those looking to celebrate all things pirate will find that Disney is just the place to do so. Begin by paying a visit to the Pirates League, where all guests are decked out in the finest pirate attire and dubbed official pirates. Catch the silly show featuring Captain Jack Sparrow located just outside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and then hop on the ride itself. To finish things off right, be sure to schedule the Pirates & Pals Fireworks Dessert Voyage. This adventure features an exciting boat ride, delicious desserts, a fantastic view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks, and even a special guest!
4. Play a Round of Mini Golf
Lots of dads golf. What many of them don't know is that mini golf is actually the more fun version of this slow-paced sport. Why not take your son to one of the two Disney World mini golf courses and see for yourself just how fun a simple round of putt-putt can really be? Don't forget to congratulate yourself with a delicious ice cream cone when all is said and done.
5. Disney Springs Day
Disney Springs is a wonderful location for a fun day out. There are tons of great shops to see, delicious treats to try, and even cool amusements to check out. Be sure to stop by the LEGO Store to build and race your very own LEGO car creation. Once you're done there, pop next door and check out the enormous World of Disney store. Kids adore lunch out at T-Rex Cafe or Rainforest Cafe. Finally, you won't want to miss the fun experiences found at AMC Theater, Splitsville Bowling Alley, and The Void.
6. Fun on the Water
From water skiing to fishing, there is tons of fun to be found on Seven Seas Lagoon and in the other waters of Disney World. This is the ideal place to teach young fisherman to cast a line, and is just as perfect for those seeking water-related thrills. Wanting to rent a personal water vehicle, try your hand at parasailing, or participate in another water sport? You'll want to head to Sammy Duvall's Watersports Centre at the Contemporary Resort. Meanwhile, those looking to get in some fishing can choose from a variety of locations and options.
7. Fun in the Water
Of course, not everyone is happy with staying on the water. Many dad-and-son duos are going to want to get wet. For these fun seekers, the water parks tend to do the trick. Disney World is home to two water parks: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Both are super fun and filled with all kinds of thrills. Pick one, put on your swimsuit, and get ready to have a blast.
8. Ultimate Camping Trip
Have you ever thought about camping at Disney World? If not, you're not alone, but you are missing out. You see, Disney World is home to one of the very best campgrounds in the country. Fort Wilderness is what you might call “luxury camping”. The bathrooms are clean and large, the pools are incredible, onsite entertainment is plentiful, the food is delicious, and best of all, the memories are just waiting to be made!
- 8 Ideas for a Father-Son Day at Walt Disney World
If you are visiting Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and find yourself hoping to rustle up some grub, there’s no better place for you and your posse to take a load off than at the Diamond Horseshoe restaurant in Frontierland. Here are 8 reasons why you’ll love it!
8. The building
From the moment you approach the Diamond Horseshoe restaurant, you will get a sense of western nostalgia. The beautiful building that houses the restaurant is in the style of an Old West music hall or saloon. So saddle up and head on in for a rootin’ tootin’ good time at lunch or dinner.
7. The starters
Until just recently, the appetizer at the Diamond Horseshoe was a Frontier Salad with cornbread croutons. But Disney has added some items to the mix, and now, Guests who choose to experience the all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet at the Diamond Horseshoe will enjoy an appetizer platter brought to their tables. The platter includes a mixed green salad, potato salad, jalapeno cornbread and a cucumber, watermelon and tomato salad.
6. The main courses
The main courses offered on the all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet are BBQ pulled pork, sliced roasted turkey, country smoked sausage, braised beef and grilled chicken. Sample some of each and share with the table. Don’t worry! If you clean your plates, your server will bring more out to you!
5. The desserts
The Diamond Horseshoe’s trademark Campfire Brownie—a brownie atop a graham cracker crust with toasted marshmallow on top—is no more. But don’t despair! If you like your dessert, you’re in luck because now, on the all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet, when it’s time for dessert, your server is only too happy to bring out a dessert platter. The planter includes buttermilk chocolate cake, peaches and cream cheesecake and blueberry cobbler. Not a bad trade!
4. The new a la carte menu
The Diamond Horseshoe restaurant has just recently added a new menu for Guests who choose not to experience the all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet. If you choose to enjoy the a la carte menu, you’ll have several options. Choose from a beef brisket sandwich, a pulled pork sandwich, a grilled chicken sandwich with BBQ mayonnaise and a turkey salad sandwich. You can also choose one of the desserts from the dessert platter on the a la carte menu.
3. The service
The service at the Diamond Horseshoe is stellar—and I’m not saying that just because my friend is a server there! It’s a nice perk at the Diamond Horseshoe—servers bring out food to the tables, even if you’re eating from the all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet. No getting up, getting a new plate, waiting in line, serving yourself and tripping over others to get back to your seat! It’s great!
2. The new additions
Not only will you love the new appetizer and dessert platters, as well as the option to choose from the a la carte menu, but many Guests will also appreciate the fact that the Diamond Horseshoe—like most table-service restaurants at Magic Kingdom—now serves wine and beer. So if you’re looking for an alcoholic beverage to wash down your grub, you’re in luck!
1. What’s not to love?
Who wouldn’t want to have lunch or dinner in a place that brings back the spirit of the Old West—and with a Disney flair to it? If you and your family have a hankerin’ for some of the best grub this side of the Mississippi, your trip to the parks won’t be complete with a stop at the Diamond Horseshoe!
- 8 Things You’ll Love About the Diamond Horseshoe Restaurant at Walt Disney World
This summer Pixar characters are the hottest thing at Disney Parks in the United States. With the new Pixar Pier opening and the accompanying Pixar Fest at Disneyland Resort in California, and the opening of Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World on June 30 . . . it is all about Pixar. I think it can be fun to theme a day of your vacation around a particular thing, and doing all things Pixar would be a very fun way to experience the parks. Here are 13 ideas to add some Pixar to your day at Walt Disney World:
13. It’s Tough to be a Bug, Animal Kingdom
This 4D film presentation featuring your favorite creepy-crawlies from A Bug’s Life is found under the Tree of Life (appropriate spot for bugs, right?). Through this film Flik attempts to convince the audience of all of the redeemable qualities of bugs. It should be noted that this attraction can be scary for adults and downright terrifying for kids. The last time I went I knew what to expect but they loud screams from the audience proved that yes, it is scary. The 4D includes “feeling” bugs, and the appearance by the villain Hopper can be intimidating. But, if you are a big fan of Pixar’s second film, A Bug’s Life you should see this attraction.
12. Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival, Epcot
Back behind the jumping fountains at Epcot’s Imagination Pavilion is one of the hidden gems of the park: the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival. Hosted in the theater that used to feature Captain EO and Honey I Shrunk the Audience, this 4D movie experience is a great new way to experience some of the great short films from the Pixar collection. The Shorts shown vary, but they are all great.
11. Pixar Play Zone, Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Sorry Moms & Dads, this one is for kids only! Pixar Play Zone is a brand new evening experience for kids that is held on the main floor of the Contemporary Resort. The experience is open to children ages 4-12 who are independent in the bathroom. Doors open at 5:00pm and kids stay & play until 10:00pm, and the experience includes a kid-approved dinner. During their time they will learn the ways of the Wild West with Jessie & Woody, go through the paces to become a Space Ranger with Buzz Lightyear, build a race car in the Piston Cup Challenge, and dance the night away with the Incredibles. It totally makes me wish I was a kid again! But no worries, adults could enjoy a nice meal at California Grill, or some park time all to themselves while their kids are having a blast in the Pixar Play Zone. You do need to register your child ahead of time by calling 407-824-KIDS and there is a fee to attend.
10. UP! A Great Bird Adventure, Animal Kingdom
One of my favorite shows at Animal Kingdom was always Flights of Wonder featuring the amazing birds of the world. Recently reimagined, you can now experience these birds up close & personal with the help of Russell and Dug from Up. You can find the show in Asia.
9. Coco, Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion
Just inside the pyramid in Mexico you will find a beautiful tribute to the Mexican tradition of Dia De Los Muertos and the Pixar Film Coco. Here you will find fascinating information on the holiday along with gorgeous displays of artwork. Down inside the pyramid you will find artists creating brightly colored Alebrijes or fantastic creatures, or Spirit Guides/Animals, like Dante and Pepita in Coco. These beautiful pieces of folk art are treasures.
8. Finding Nemo the Musical, Animal Kingdom
Finding Nemo the Musical at Animal Kingdom is a gorgeous production done with puppetry as a re-telling of the Finding Nemo story. Sure to delight any Pixar Fan, the show features your favorite characters with a Broadway caliber soundtrack to convey the story of Nemo getting lost from Marlin and the two finding their way back to each other. The colors, the artistry, the music and the performers make Finding Nemo the Musical a can’t miss show.
7. Wilderness Explorers, Animal Kingdom
While you are at Animal Kingdom stop on your way in to be sworn in as a Wilderness Explorer just like in the Pixar Film Up!. Some of Russell’s troop mates are on the bridge as you enter Discovery Island to give you your badge, your book and send you on your way to explore the wilderness of the Animal Kingdom collecting badges along the way as you learn about nature, animals, and the environment. And kids LOVE to do this—my 6 year old spent one day at Animal Kingdom just earning his Senior Explorer badge. And at the end don’t forget to stop by and meet Russell himself (& maybe Dug will be with him)! Caw! Caw! Roar!
6. Eat at Woody’s Lunch Box, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Woody’s Lunch Box, the new quick service eatery coming to Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios looks like it will be serving up some of the best grub in the park. To truly experience Pixar in the parks, mosey on over and sample one of the tempting menu items like the Monte Cristo Sandwich, the S’mores French Toast Sandwich (at breakfast), or the Chocolate-Hazelnut Lunch Box Tart. I can’t wait to sample all of it!
5. The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Epcot
The entire Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion is custom made for fans of Pixar’s Finding Nemo and Finding Dory films. You start off your adventure in the queue for the ride walking down the beach and into Nemo’s underwater world (keep your eyes open for hints and details from the films). Once you are on the attraction you are once again trying to find Nemo, and run into some of your favorite friends from the movies. After the ride you can walk around and enjoy all of the aquarium viewing windows (you may just find Nemo or Dory swimming around), or let kids play in Bruce’s Shark World. Another big hit for kids is Turtle Talk with Crush located right there in the pavilion. This interactive show allows kids to ask Crush questions about his life under the sea, you know a 150 year old turtle knows a lot of stuff dude.
4. Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, Magic Kingdom
One of Pixar’s first appearances inside the a Disney Theme Park, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin in Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland squares you off against the Evil Emperor Zurg to score points and save the Galactic Alliance. This fun dark ride is a family favorite (especially for those with a competitive side) allowing you to take control of your ride vehicle to spin and aim at the targets, then shoot your laser beam to score points. What is your top score?
3. Toy Story Land Attractions, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
With an opening date of June 30, 2018, Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios promises to be an immersive experience shrinking you down to the size of Andy’s toys like the Green Army Men. The perennial favorite, Toy Story Mania becomes part of this new Land. Like Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Toy Story Mania allows you to interact and compete against your riding partner in various 3-D carnival type games. It’s a rootin’ tootin’ good time! There are two brand new attractions opening with Toy Story Land as well. Here you will find the Slinky Dog Dash coaster where you board Slinky Dog himself to race around the track through Andy’s toys. You can also find Alien Swirling Saucers, a spinning ride similar to the tea cups but closest to Mater’s Junk Yard Jamboree in California Adventure’s Cars Land. Both promise to be family-friendly fun and a great way to enjoy your favorite Toy Story Characters at their size. This will be a very popular area for families, especially just as it opens.
2. Stay at Art of Animation Resort
One of the most highly themed resorts at Walt Disney World is Art of Animation where families can enjoy a little extra room in the very well designed Family Suites. Art of Animation consists of 4 areas or themes, and two of those are related to Pixar Films: Finding Nemo and Cars (and these happen to be my 2 favorite sections of the resort). The design here is incredible and you truly feel like you’ve stepped into the animated features as you walk around outside the resort. In the Cars area you’ll find the Cozy Cone motel which in this setting is covered cabanas around a “quiet” pool. All of the Cars characters are out on the road and make for the perfect backdrops for photos. My 6 year old LOVES this resort, and could spend an afternoon just walking around looking at everything. In the Finding Nemo area you’ll feel like you are under the sea with Crush, Marlin, Nemo & Dory. Everything from the larger than life statues, landscaping that looks like seaweed and coral, and the Seagulls atop the buildings shouting “Mine! Mine! Mine!” immerse you in the movie. The main feature pool for the resort is found here (appropriately), and when you go under water listen . . . you just may hear some familiar fishy voices. Inside the rooms the theming doesn’t stop with each section’s suites designed in colors and patterns to look like it’s Pixar Movie. Art of Animation resort is the perfect back drop for your Pixar themed Walt Disney World vacation.
1. Meet Your Favorite Characters
I don’t think you can get much closer to a Pixar film than to meet your heroes in person! Buzz, Woody & Jessie will be meeting their friends in Toy Story Land, so be sure to line up to say hello. They happen to be my personal favorites. But—you can meet other Pixar characters at Walt Disney World too! At Magic Kingdom The Incredibles (including Edna Mode for a limited time) are in Tomorrowland and Merida is by the Castle (toward the Tea Cups), the Green Army Men are patrolling Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios, and Russell & Dug are over at Animal Kingdom.
What is your favorite way to experience your favorite Pixar film or characters in Walt Disney World?
- 13 Best Experiences for a Pixar Themed Day at Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World has lots of entertainment options for everyone in the family. One of those options that you may not think about are the various lounges located around the resort property in resorts, Disney Springs and the theme parks. Many of these lounges specialize in offering great entertainment to their guests along with the general atmosphere and drinks. Some of the lounges even allow children until certain times of night and provide family-friendly entertainment. Here are my 8 choices for the best lounges for entertainment at Walt Disney World.
8. Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar
This new “joint” at Disney Springs is themed as a speakeasy from the early part of the 20th
Century during the prohibition era. The lounge is located under Maria & Enzo’s restaurant in a “storied rum runner tunnel.” The entertainment here comes from the music, bartenders and the general atmosphere keeping to that prohibition era theme (note the graffiti). There is a large selection of scotches and rums, and the Roman style Italian food served is quite good.
7. Raglan Road
Staying at Disney Springs, my next choice is Raglan Road. This pub atmosphere is imported straight from Ireland—did you know that Raglan Road Pub was built in Ireland, then shipped to Orlando to be reconstructed? It is that authentic. Here you will find live music 7 nights a week, Irish dancing, and then “One Heck of a Hooley” from 7pm-10pm. (A hooley is an Irish word for a party, but attending it will leave no doubt in your mind what it is). The energetic spirit of these celebrations of Irish culture come together with some amazing drink and food options to make Raglan Road a perennial guest favorite.
6. Mizner’s Lounge
Located in the Grand Floridian Resort, Mizner’s Lounge has a much more subdued form of entertainment compared to Raglan Road. Mizner’s is located just behind the band stand for the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra, so if you are visiting at a time when they are playing you are in for a treat of some wonderful live music.
5. Top of the World Lounge &/or California Grill
The Top of the World Lounge is located at the top of Bay Lake Tower and offers panoramic views of the Magic Kingdom and Bay Lake area that are absolutely breathtaking. And it is bar none one of the best out of the park places to watch the nightly fireworks. That makes for some great entertainment. Unfortunately for non-members, only Disney Vacation Club Members and their guests can go up to the lounge. So, for a backup, check out the lounge area at the California Grill at the top of the Contemporary Tower.
4. River Roost Lounge
The River Roost Lounge at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside is a family favorite for live entertainment. Here you will find the legendary Yee Haa Bob performing on select days of the week (be sure to check his website for his current calendar before planning your evening there). Arrive early to get a seat at a table, or even to be able to squeeze in for standing room. Yee Haa Bob’s family friendly musical entertainment packs in the crowds. If you are staying at one of the Port Orleans resorts you definitely need to walk over one evening to take part in the fun, but even if you are not it is worth the trip.
3. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto & Tiki Bar
Located in Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto & Tiki Bar has sort of two areas. Outside you can have a sit al fresco and enjoy drinks and some live music (and some great sunset views). Inside there is more of a show complete with audio animatronics and special effects. The drink that you order kicks off a reaction from the inhabitants of the lounge. Think of it as the Tiki Room enhanced with food and beverage. This is a very fun place to visit, and until 8:00pm children are welcome (after 8pm it is 21 and over only).
2. The Edison
The Edison at Disney Springs is set in a 1920s electric company. It has a steam-punk vibe that celebrates invention and imagination. Inside there are multiple themed areas including the Tesla Lounge, The Patent Office and the Telegraph Lounge. The entertainment here almost more like being in Las Vegas than in Walt Disney World with DJs, aerialists, contortionists and a live cabaret. Before 10:00pm anyone is welcome, after 10pm it is 21 and over only and there is a dress code.
Jellyrolls on the Boardwalk at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort is a perennial favorite for evening entertainment in a lounge atmosphere. The dueling piano bar is high energy and so much fun to visit, especially when you are there with a group. The musicians are very talented and take your requests—I have not seen anyone stump them yet. Jellyrolls is 21 and over only and there is a cover charge. You have to try Jellyrolls on your next “grown up” evening at Walt Disney World.
Walt Disney World has some amazing lounges—which ones are your favorite for entertainment?
- 8 Best Lounges for Entertainment at Walt Disney World
When it comes to Walt Disney World, there are some things that most people will do at some point on their vacations. You know ahead of time that you'll ride the monorail, sing along with "it's a small world", and travel back in time on Spaceship Earth. There are other experiences that might not be part of your vacation. It could be because of the timing, the cost, or that you just never thought about it. Here are ten Walt Disney World experiences that you may not have tried, but you should if you can.
10. Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
If you're a regular visitor to Walt Disney World you've ridden the PeopleMover countless times, but many people who have only been to the Magic Kingdom once or twice walk right underneath. It could be because the line is next to Astro Orbiter and people get it mixed up, or maybe it's because you need to look up to see it. Whatever the reason why the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover is overlooked by so many, let it pay off for you on your next trip to Walt Disney World. Enjoy the view; and the short line.
If you've never participated in a RunDisney event, you need to consider planning your next vacation around a race. It is something that you should experience at least once. There is an excitement in the air that you won't find in many other races, and you might see some surprise guests along the way. If you're not a marathon runner that's no excuse. There are races as short as 5K (3.1 miles), and you are not required to run as long as you can walk at a fairly decent pace.
8. Star Wars: Galactic Nights
If you've never attended Star Wars: Galactic Nights at Disney's Hollywood Studios you have a good excuse, it's not held all that often. If there is something new going on that is Star Wars
related such as a new movie, then check the Walt Disney World website to see if Galactic Nights is being offered. This special ticketed event features a special panel, possibly a celebrity appearance, a projection show, Star Wars
related treats, and more. Since Star Wars: Galactic Nights is not held often, you can expect new fun each time.
7. Truly Explore World Showcase
Sure, you've eaten in several restaurants in World Showcase and you've bought plenty of merchandise, but is that all World Showcase means to you? If you think that there are a couple of films and a few character greetings but that's about it, you are missing out. The next time you're at Epcot, take an entire afternoon to really explore the World Showcase countries. Wander through the buildings, walk through the gardens, and talk to the Cast Members from the host countries. You'll have a whole new appreciation for World Showcase.
6. Carriage Rides
There is so much rushing from one place to another while at Walt Disney World, wouldn't it be nice to sit back and relax for a little while? You can do exactly that if you take a carriage ride. They are available at both Disney's Port Orleans Resort - Riverside and Disney's Fort Wilderness. For something truly unique during the Christmas season, schedule a Holiday Sleigh Ride. You'll feel as if you entered the first verse of Jingle Bells
, but without dashing through any snow. For more information or to schedule your ride, call 407-WDW-PLAY (407-939-7529).
5. Disney Early Morning Magic or Disney After Hours
If experiencing a nearly empty Magic Kingdom sounds too good to be true, you need to look into these two options. With Disney Early Morning Magic you'll ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan's Flight, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh as many times as possible from 7:45 until the park opens to the general public. You'll then be able to feast on an all you can eat breakfast. Disney After Hours is even more spectacular. You can experience 25 attractions and character meet and greets, plus eat as many Mickey Ice Cream Bars and as much popcorn as possible. It's three hours that you will never forget. Both of these experiences have extremely limited availability, and are held on select days.
If you would like to see Walt Disney World from a totally different perspective, you need to sign up for a behind the scenes tour. There are lots of different choices. You can learn about trains, see the Utilidor tunnels, hear about the care of the animals, and so much more. You can sign up for a tour that will take up a good part of your day such as Backstage Magic, or take a tour that is much shorter like Behind the Seeds. There are special requirements for some tours, and some have age limits. For more information, call 407-WDW-TOUR (407-939-8687).
3. Celebration at the Top
Small plates at one of Walt Disney World's best restaurants, cordials, and
Happily Ever After? That is what Celebration at the Top is all about. The flavors of the West Coast are featured as you dine in a private dining room in California Grill, which is located in Disney's Contemporary Resort. You'll then watch Happily Ever After on a private viewing deck, with the soundtrack piped in. It's an intimate experience, and it's perfect if you are celebrating something special. Celebration at the Top is held on select Saturdays and Sundays.
2. Main Street Vehicles
Chances are that you have walked by the old fashioned vehicles once you've entered the Magic Kingdom on your way to get to Space Mountain. But have you ever gotten in line? You can take a ride back in time in a Fire Engine, a Horse Drawn Street Car, or another vehicle from yesteryear. Main Street Vehicles only run when the park first opens, so next time you arrive at rope drop don't rush to another part of the park. Enjoy a ride in an old fashioned vehicle first.
1. Victoria & Albert's
Victoria & Albert's is the most expensive restaurant at Walt Disney World. There is a good reason for that, it is one of the best restaurants in the United States. It takes fine dining to a whole new level. Prices are set, so you won't end up in shock when you get the bill. There are three different dining experiences; The Dining Room, Queen Victoria's Table, and Chef's Table. While Chef's Table is the most elaborate experience, you can't go wrong with any reservation. Have someone else watch the kids, since children under ten are not allowed. Give yourself plenty of time, a meal at Victoria & Albert's can take three hours or more. You'll enjoy every moment and every bite.
- 10 Walt Disney World Experiences You May Not Have Tried